Spoleto, one of the most interesting of the southern Umbrian towns, is also one of the most congested, with a confusing one-way system and few places to park. From late June until mid-July, during Perugia's world-famous Festival of Two Worlds, it is also notoriously difficult to find a room. La Macchia, tucked away in the fold of a hillside, yet close to the centre, is surrounded by olive groves with grazing donkeys, and offers a welcome alternative for those in search of a peaceful stay.
Carla and Claudio's hotel started life in the 1980s as a country osteria specializing in the local cucina spoletana. Today the restaurant is full of locals enjoying the simple (but good) food, in particular the delicious pizza. It was only recently that they opened their hotel, and the place is full of Claudio's "antiques" - old TVs, radios and pots - adding character to what is basically a simple, modern building. A separate entrance spares guests from the occasional inconvenience caused by large dinners in the downstairs banqueting room. The style throughout is modern, though the old barn, now a shady portico, and the gnarled olive tree in the front courtyard, are a reminder of the building's original use. In each of the well-lit bedrooms, the chestnut furniture has been made by local craftsmen. Some beds have old wrought iron heads and splendidly firm bases.